Sunday, 5 February 2017

Headley Heath

22nd January 2017

The day dawned clear and cold. Despite a forecast for cloud and a chance of rain, we were very pleasantly relieved. 13 of us assembled in the pub car park plus our lively Staffie Skye, the discussion was not about what to wear but whether sunglasses would be necessary! Cutting through the adjacent church grounds, we then turned south towards Headley Heath. The going was actually very benign as the muddy bits had all frozen over.

Passing the Headley CC house en route, Helen stopped the group to announce that the cricket club did NOT have any famous members play for it! Heading further south we encountered two small ponds dedicated to encouraging amphibian life. The first pond is called Hopeful (Photo opportunity!) and the second pond is called, as expected, Brimmer?!!!

We moved on. Joe led the group to a lovely cottage in the woods, a slight wrong turn but quickly corrected! A minor two minute detour and we were all back on the right track. The path descended into a gully and as the group walked up out of it they saw a very old dam which may have been connected to the Canadian military base there in WW2.

We then followed a long straight path which led past Bellasis House (SOE WW2) and Ashurst house (now an outdoor activity centre).

Stopping for lunch, we enjoyed watching a number of robins watching us watching them! The descent to the bottom of Headley Heath from there was steep but at least dry! What goes down must go up! We joined the pathway as it led to the Steps! Many steps! A good workout for all! After a short rest, and taking in the lovely view  over to Box Hill, we meandered across the heath enjoying the bright clear sunshine. Eventually we left the official Heath boundary and crossing a couple of roads and paths we headed back gently uphill to the Cock Inn where 10 of us stayed for coffee, soup and some good Surrey ale.

Not a bad morning in the end! Many thanks to those who took the time and effort to join us.

Joe and Helen
The Group gathered by Hopeful Pond

Robin On The Fence

Basingstoke Canal & Wey Navigation

18th December

Ten people came for the walk on Sunday keen for some exercise before loosening our belts at Christmas. It was mild for the time of year but damp although we had no rain. Starting from Sheerwater Road we walked up the Basingstoke Canal going under the M25 and then crossing the Wey Navigation. We then walked down the Wey until we reached Murray's Cart Bridge. As this is now closed we saw neither carts nor anyone else crossing here. At this point we took a track left which went over the M25. On the far side we encountered a field with pigmy pigs, llamas and other farm animals all happily living together. No sign of old MacDonald.
We walked on to Byfleet Church walking through the graveyard and stopped for a break at the end. We came out on to the road which became a path which led us under the M25 for the third time. The track us to Wisley where we swung by the church and into Wisley Golf Course. We succeeded in finding our way through the course, not the easiest of things to do as I have found in earlier attempts, and back to the Wey Navigation at Pyrford Lock.
Resisting calling in at the Anchor we were soon told by a barge coming in the opposite direction that we were going the wrong way to the pub. Nevertheless we pressed on crossing the Wey at Dodd's Bridge and following paths through fields until we came out at Holybank Road and a walk through the private estate. We soon came to the A245 and had a discussion about the best route across. We decided eventually to use the crossing which was a great idea until we realised it was not working so we stepped out and fortunately the traffic stopped.  Back to the cars we went our separate ways, all I believe intact.

Wednesday, 5 October 2016

Green Dene and Sheepleas Common

Walk Diary for October 2nd

11 of us gathered in the Green Dene car park under leaden grey skies although as the first part of the walk was though the trees, the sky wasn’t that visible. It wasn’t long before the clouds dissipated and the sun came out to give a very pleasant day.

The walk took us up hills and down dales, through woods and across meadows with some splendid views across the Thames Valley, with London just visible in the far distance. Sadly, there was ample evidence of ash dieback, a disease that is wreaking havoc with one of Britain’s native trees. The attached photos show those of you that didn’t do the walk what you missed. Many thanks go to Jenny for leading yet another great walk.

A Dead Ash Tree
Hungry Goats

Ready To Go After A Coffee Break

Preparing For The Final Assault (the last bit was quite steep!)

Sunday, 25 September 2016

Friday Street & Leith Hill

Walk Report Sunday 18th September

Ten of us started out from the car park at Friday Street to cover the 6 to 7 mile route in the area of Leith Hill, ably led by Jenny Page. The weather proved the forecasters wrong yet again with blue skies appearing shortly after the walk rather than the predicted overcast conditions.
There were two refreshment stops, the first just under a mile before reaching the pub at Coldharbour (Jenny must have known the pub would have been shut) and the second at the top of Leith Hill from where there were good views across the Weald to the South Downs and beyond. A very slight haze prevented us from seeing the sea through one of the gaps in the South Downs.
Having picked up an additional SWSW member at the top of Leith Hill we proceeded back to the Stephan Langton pub where all but two of us decided that a visit was an essential part of the walk. The attached photo’s show the queue at the Leith Hill food bar, views over the Weald with some SWSW members in the foreground and the group hightailing it off to the pub  Thanks go to Jenny for leading such an enjoyable walk.
Margo and Others At Leith Hill.
Setting Out For Home.

Leith Hill Food Bar.

Tuesday, 30 August 2016

SWSW Barbeque at Bookham

 Walk Diary for 7th August, and barbeque after.

The day started cloudy when 12 of us headed for the hills just south of Bookham. Very quickly the sun broke through to give us a very pleasant and warm day. So warm that some folk were grateful that a good part of the walk was through the shade of Norbury Park woods. The route took us past Crabtree Cottages, down the hill towards the Stepping Stones pub (which was bypassed this time) and returning via the wood mill opposite Norbury Park House. Two additional folk appeared at the bbq following the walk, which was held on a very warm suntrap of a patio. The attached photo’s show what most members of SWSW missed out on.

Shady Woods

Down in The Meadow
Lunch Under Way

The Sunny Patio

Heading For Home


Wednesday, 13 July 2016

Weymouth Weekend

Report on the SWSW weekend in Weymouth - by Roger Adams
The weekend started early with the desperados of SWSW gathering in Portland jail, not for a few minutes of association before being led back to the cells but for Friday lunch in the Jailhouse Cafe. The food was excellent, the service was great the value for money second to none.

After lunch, we all gathered outside Portland museum for a walk to the southernmost tip of Portland Bill and back. En-route, five people spent 25 minutes learning all about the activities of the coastguard station whilst the rest of us headed for the cafĂ© by the lighthouse. The visibility was good such that the views both towards St Aldhelm’s Head, some 20 miles to the east and to Exmouth, some 40 miles to the west were stunning. The day was rounded off with dinner in one of the many quayside eateries in Weymouth.

The strong winds of Friday were still blowing as we set off for the Saturday walk from Abbotsbury, an attractive village well known to tourists. The initial route took us via the church and the remains of an ancient monastery to St Catherine’s Chapel, perched on a small hill just outside Abbotsbury and visible for miles around. Then came the main event; a stiff climb out of the village to the South Dorset Ridgeway where we followed the route west to West Bexington, passing an iron age hill fort and burial mounds on the way. Sadly, we didn’t quite make the watering hole before one of the rain showers arrived. However, the rain passed quickly and folk were able to dry off in the sun before the next shower arrived. After lunch we returned to the one of tearooms at Abbotsbury (one that had been thoroughly reconnoitred by Lesley on a number of occasions) via the South West Cost Path. The cream teas and cakes of Abbotsbury were an appropriate prelude for the pizza and pies that we consumed later at one of Weymouth’s chic restaurants situated above the harbour master’s office.

Sunday’s weather started overcast but very quickly the sky turned blue and the sun shone brightly. The wind of the previous two days had gone and we enjoyed a very pleasant stroll to the Smugglers pub at Osmington Mills. From the path along this part of the coast we could clearly see Portland harbour and the ships anchored in Weymouth Bay as well as the surrounding hills to the north.  Fortified with tea, cake and alcohol, we returned to Weymouth before most people set off for Surrey, hopefully ahead of the mad rush back to the smoke that characterises Sunday evening on the roads.

In summary, there were three excellent walks that gave a good view of the coastal scenery of west Dorset, lots of good food and great company. Many thanks must go to Lesley for leading the walks, all her hard work in making this trip the success it was and for arranging weather that was perfect – apart from the Saturday showers! 
St Catherine's Chapel
 Portland Head Across Weymouth Bay 

Gathered By The Monument On Portland Head

Lunch in The Smugglers Inn, Osmington.

Monday, 13 June 2016

Isle Of Wight

Walk Diary Sat 4th June

Ten of us arrived at Ryde on a lovely sunny day to meet Alison Bright who was our leader for the day making eleven in total.

We boarded a local train to Brading station to start the 7 mile circular walk after having coffee etc. unfortunately just a few minutes after starting the walk one of our party tripped and injured their ankle and had to make their way back home, which Alison very kindly organised with the help of the cafe at Brading station.

The rest of us continued on to Bembridge windmill, led by Roger Smith, through Brading Marshes. Once there we enjoyed a picnic and a look at the National Trust windmill. From there we carried on to White Cliff bay and descended to the beach, where the braver of us paddled while we waited for Alison to re-join us.

We then walked on to Culver Down which was a fairly steep climb, but well worth it for the excellent views.  Here some went to the pub for a drink in the garden, whilst others enjoyed a cup of tea at the local cafe. We then made our way back to Brading station and on to Ryde where a few of stayed to enjoy fish and chips before catching the ferry home.

All in all it was a lovely relaxing day and varied walk so thank you to Alison for arranging it.

Lunch At The Windmill

Paddling At The Beach
A Day At The Beach!